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Everything posted by umpire_scott

  1. Momentary adjustments

    How much in the area of "momentary adjustments" are allowed and what constitutes a balk under these circumstances? Scenario 1: F1 comes to pitching plate with ball in his throwing hand in the stretch. He looks in, then takes the ball and places it in his glove, and then resets to an original starting position. Scenario 2: F1 comes to pitching plate with the ball in his throwing hand in the stretch. He looks in then takes the ball an puts it in his glove, then he pauses and puts it back into his pitching hand.
  2. Who's call is it

    So normally with R2 doesn't PU have the touch at third for example if the play had been at first rather than a tag up the line? I ask because I have run into this before when I was in C and a dribbler was hit down the first base line. I went towards the working area to get a good look at a play at first. Well my PU, partner went up the line as well, and before I noticed and turned around there was a collision rounding third between R2 and F5. Neither of us saw it as we both went towards the play at first. We talked about it later and I pregame now that 1/2 way up the line PU has tag and after that BU has it. Do any of you do anything different to avoid that SH*# sandwich?
  3. Momentary adjustments

    So clearly this is a judgement call on whether the umpire would consider it preparatory or not. Even though he was deliberate in his motions and did look in, since he was not taking a sign, and he paused for a long time after switching hands, I considered it preparatory.
  4. Momentary adjustments

    FWIW in my situation in the OP, the opposing HC, who was at 3rd base questioned the non-call of the balk. He called time and went to my partner behind the plate. I was not in earshot to hear what was said. My partner then said that the coach could come talk to me if he wanted to. The coach came out and said "you know that is a balk when they switch hands like that". I explained I felt it fell under "momentary adjustment while getting settled". He mumbled something about that being a balk every time in high school. We played on. He made some snide comments about it while warming his pitcher up the next inning, but we moved past it. Then later in the game, because this was now in the pitchers head about not being able to switch hands, he switched hands and then switched back, while engaged with the plate. At this point I balked it. As for it not creating an advantage I think it could a little because the motion of switching hands can be construed by the runner as beginning to come set. He may extend his lead at this point. This could make him vulnerable to get picked off. In addition, if he realizes F1 simply switched hands, he may reduce his lead and throw his timing off for a potential steal. Many umpires I work with have this notion that almost anything a pitcher does prior to becoming set is legal and can't be balked. In fact when I talked to some of my colleagues, the first thing out of many of their mouths was, "well it was before he came set, right". Which in this case was irrelevant.
  5. Momentary adjustments

    Thanks for all the input. It was probably a little of "had to be there". I would say the "looking in/taking a sign" could have been judged differently by different umpires. The kid was pretty deliberate in his motion, so it was probably right on the border of what one would consider "getting settled".
  6. Momentary adjustments

    The game in question was 11U baseball. He was not taking a sign. The cases stated were FED and this was an OBR game. Do most of you call it differently depending on the rule set?
  7. Momentary adjustments

    I had nothing on the first and I balked the second. We have a 9-year MiLB umpire in our association he said "no" on the first. I was not able to ask him yet about the second.
  8. Momentary adjustments

    In the second situation he switched hands twice.
  9. I think to say we have "no jurisdiction" is clearly false. But I also think it is imperative to use that jurisdiction carefully. The higher levels I go the less I react to what fans say. I was doing a 15U tournament game a few months ago. AA level at best. Many fans not knowing rules or appropriate demeanor. Early in the game there were a few bangers on the bases that went against Team A. Coaches were theatrical but not very verbal. Fans were more verbal. All of it was ignored. Then in the late innings of what was a tight game. I rang a kid up on a pitch on the inside corner for Team A. Coach asked where the pitch was, fans complained quite loudly. Answered the coach with "in the strike zone" and ignored the fans. A few pitches later more chirps from the fans, and some unnecessary body language from one of the players. Then another pitch comes in fat of the plate right at the news I call a strike and a fan screams "You've got to be kidding me". I call time and tell the coach that he needed to control his fans because if I hear anymore he will be ejected (this has never failed to work for me. Fans do not want to be responsible for the coach getting ejected). The coach argued that he doesn't have to control his fans and that they can say anything they wanted and I was just to ignore them. I explained that allowing their conduct was starting to effect the conduct of the players and I was not going to allow them to cause the game to get out of control. He adamantly disagreed with me, but it didn't matter as the fans got the message and shut up. The coach came up to me after the game and said "you know you are a really good umpire but you will never umpire at any level higher than this is you don't learn to ignore the fans". I simply said I do umpire at level higher than this. And most often do ignore those fans. But it is my job to promote sportsmanship and control the game. Your fans were impacting the game and the conduct of the players. At higher levels players are not so easily influenced by what their parents and the fans say.
  10. Stalling

    I see no difference between "stalling" and purposely making outs. The rules are the rules. If the tournament includes a rule regarding no new inning starting after a certain time then both managers and teams are aware of this. Since I cannot legislate against purposely making outs, I'm also not going to legislate what is or is not stalling. As long as they are within the rules regarding time outs and such then I am not going to interject myself into it. Honestly what I get much more frustrated with is the manager/team that wants to play "hurry-up" when they are on the field. You've been lollygagging around all game with no sense of urgency and now because you are behind and need a new inning you expect the other teams batter to be ready 20 seconds after they got off the field. They are no longer allowed to take signs after pitches. And no offensive time outs are allowed. If the team leading does anything that would not have even raised an eyebrow the entire game it is all of a sudden this egregious offense. My solution. . . don't get behind where the clock becomes a factor to you.
  11. Warning

    I feel like I handled this situation appropriately but given that it was a player and not a coach I wonder if some would have ejected. 3-0 count pitch comes in on the outside corner right at the top of the zone. Batter drops his bad and starts to first as I'm calling "strike". As batter gets set for the next pitch he says very audibly "The reason I started to first base is because that pitch was a ball". I call "time". I get the batters attention and I say "If you do that again you will be ejected. We are not arguing balls and strikes and we are not commenting on them either. Understand?" He says "yes". To his credit after the next pitch he turned to me and said "sorry blue I was out of line". I said "hey no problem it happens". He additionally came up to me after the game and apologized. Coach also came to me between innings and asked what his player said. I told him and he was cool with the warning as well. On a side note after the game my partner and I were talking (I had never worked with this guy before) and he says the kid asked him if he thought it was a strike. My partner said he replied that it was a borderline pitch that was at the top of the zone, maybe a little high, but that on 3-0 you should expect that to be called a strike. What are your thoughts on that response from a partner? I generally find a way to deflect any suggestion that I thought a pitch could have been called a ball. If I clearly thought it was a strike I'll emphatically back my partner. And if I thought it was at all questionable I find a way to say that I didn't get a good look at it.
  12. B/C on infield grounders

    What advice can anyone give on the best practices for positioning on infield grounders while in the middle. Take the following situations and tell me where you generally go and where do you try to end up when making these calls. A. In "C" position with 2 outs, grounder to SS who is most likely going to throw to 1st for the final out. B. Runners on 1st and 2nd, so I'm in "C", 1 out ground ball to 3rd baseman.
  13. Best thing to say

    So in a previous thread there was mention of coaches asking umpires about another umpires call. Some on here mentioned that if one time you confirm the other umpires call, but another time said, "that's his call" or something along those lines that you might be giving the impression that you didn't agree with the call. I can see that perspective. So this weekend I had a situation doing three-man and I was U3, bases empty so I was in "D". Ground ball to F4, throw to F3, foot was on the back of the bag and it looked like it pulled a little. I had come inside in case runner went to second. U1 called BR out. Third base coach who was also the head coach immediately says to me "Did you have a better angle to see if he pulled his foot?". In this case I did not and told him so. But I was thinking what stock answer to you guys give? Does that answer change if you saw a pulled foot?
  14. When to intervene

    Running three-man. R2 and I'm U3 in D. Pitcher comes set prior to batter being ready in the box. I see and expect one of my partners to call "time" and ask F1 to step off. By the time neither of them do the pitch is delivered and it's a strike. Should I do/have done: A. Nothing. B. Call "time" after the pitch, confer with my partners, and tell them I think we should have a "no pitch" as the batter was not ready. C. Call "time" myself as soon as I notice F1 come set prior to batter being ready. I was reluctant to do "C" as I felt this was my partner in "B" or the plate umpires place to make that call.
  15. Obstruction result of throw

    R2 is stealing third. The throw from F2 pulls F5 off the bag and into the path of R2. As a result when R2 slides he comes up short of the bag. F5 is essentially laying on top of him at that point and applies the tag. The obstruction rule seems to clear the fielder of obstruction as long as he is making a play on the thrown ball. Is this always the case or are there any interps where if he is laying on him, but still in possession of the ball, he can be construed to have not given him a "path to the base"?
  16. Interpretation on bunt

    Had a situation where a batter squared to bunt and was hit by a pitch. I ruled that once the pitch came into his body that while he did not pull back the bat he was attempting to get out of the way and not attempting to bunt at the pitch. My partner disagreed and said that in his mind once a player squares his body to bunt that he views that as the equivalent of bringing the bat threw the zone and therefore feels that he has committed to the bunt and it is an attempt at that point. What are others thoughts on this?
  17. Legal position within the batters box

    I was watching the LLWS regionals yesterday for the Southwest Region. I believe it was the batters for Lake St. Charles, Louisiana were standing with at least half their feet outside of the white lines of the batters box to crowd the plate. This was very effective as the Texas-East pitcher was having a great deal of difficulty throwing strikes. I've always interpreted the verbiage in the rules manual to be that both feet must be entirely in batters box at the time of the pitch, so as PU I would not have allowed this. I have been "corrected" by many umpires I work with who interpret the batter box rule to be the same at TOP as it is at TOH that as long as any part of their foot is touching any part of the box they are legal. They OBR rules verbiage is as such: (5) (6.03) The batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box. APPROVED RULING: The lines defining the box are within the batter’s box. I've felt that since it says "within" then that means that no part of the feet cannot be outside of the box at TOP. I have two questions: 1. What are others interpretations of this verbiage and/or is their an accepted case-play interpretation for this? 2. Does little league have rules verbiage that differs from OBR concerning this?
  18. Legal position within the batters box

    To me a lot of other factors would come into play. Did the pitch start outside and ended up there? ball for sure. Did the catcher position his mitt just off the plate and the pitcher stuck it there? Probably a strike, but honestly I'd have to be behind the plate looking at it. Did the pitch move that direction and finish there, meaning it was closer to the plate at the front part? Depending on F2 glove movement, probably a strike. Was the pitch at the lowest or highest part of the zone or even slightly below of above? Probably a ball. Was the pitch between the thighs and the gut? Probably a strike. And most importantly what is the level of play and how good are the pitchers at spotting their pitches? At some point you simply umpire enough games that you can see the pitch characteristics and process it as to whether it looks like a strike. You will always get a few coaches and/or players complain about a single pitch here or there. That is never going to go away. But when they complain about "your zone" in general it is usually a problem with the umpire (not always as there are always idiots). I would estimate it's been almost 2 years since I've had a coach, player, or fan complain about "my zone". I hardly ever get "where was that?". Because in most cases if it looks that much like a strike to them, it also looks like one to me. When I tried to call the plate, I got complained about fairly regularly. Pitching is not easy. Command of pitches is really hard. Expecting a 14-17 year old to pitch to the plate is setting yourself up for some long games in my opinion. For example I was working a 14U tournament a few months back. We had 5 umpires for two fields so I was alternating fields doing 3-man. I took the first two plates on a 14U AA field. Pitchers were pretty accurate, although without a lot of movement in their pitches. I called my normal zone and the two games were 3-1 and 5-2, both games went 7 full innings in about an hour and a half. We started each game about 15 mins early and were done about 15 additional mins before the time limit. Everyone was happy. Fans and coaches complimented us on calling a great game. I move over to a 14U AAA field, so supposedly better quality of play. They also started their first game 15 mins early. An umpire with a notoriously small zone had the first two plates. They were 1/2 hour behind schedule when I jumped on to do 3-man with them. As long as you are consistent and don't get too carried away players, coaches and fans prefer a larger zone. I doubt any umpires call pitches that cross the edge of the plate a ball. But I've heard many coaches complain after a pitcher gets shelled "well when you have to throw it right down the middle to get a strike what do you expect". They want and their pitchers need that pitch a few inches off the plate.
  19. Legal position within the batters box

    I do agree that too many umpires take pride in having a big zone and so it has become the norm to "get as many strikes as you can". Some are able to take this approach and still be sensible and fair about it. Some aren't as savvy and end up calling an Eric Gregg zone.
  20. Legal position within the batters box

    I tend to use the inner white line (meaning closest to the plate) as my reference. If any part of the ball is nicking the white line I'm balling it. The area between the edge of the plate and the beginning of the box is my borderline area. If the pitch is thigh high and F1 pops a stationary mitt he's getting it. But I won't call pitches in the other box strikes. So batters in my game don't have any reason to stand out of the box. On another note I always find it funny how infrequently pitchers take advantage of batters that do crowd the plate. Over 1/2 the time when I see this I still see the pitchers trying to pitch away. Really dumb. Come inner half and hard and they are going to have a tough time catching up or you might jam them. Pitching away when they crowd the plate is just dumb. The distance you have to go away to miss the bat is never going to be called a strike. Yet I see it all the time.
  21. Award of Bases

    Okay that makes sense. I was envisioning a situation where he was already out of the box and the catcher's errant throw hit him. For example a WP and batter vacates the box and the catcher not paying attention to where he is hits his helmet. But It does make sense to account for the batter starting in the box and then moving during the throw.
  22. Award of Bases

    Just curious what the reasoning is in making it different whether the batter is in the box or not? The ball is live for runners to advance on an overthrow back to F2 whether the batter is in the box or not. So why make it a dead ball no advance if he's out of the box?
  23. Legal position within the batters box

    "Crowding the plate" is legal. Having any part of your foot outside the outer edge of the box is not legal. In the game I was watching I was probably incorrect to say 1/2 their foot was outside of the box. But the tips of their toes were an inch or two away from home plate. At least 2-3 inches of their feet were completely out of the box. So they were clearly in violation of the rule. I always enforce this and have had no issue with it because it is supported by the rule. Now if the lines have been brushed away and I can't make an absolute determination then I'm letting it go.
  24. Legal position within the batters box

    Yes but I think the impact on the pitcher is more visual than anything else. Once he begins his pitching motion I think the batters position relative to the plate is less significant. When the batter is crowding the plate prior to the pitch it visually impedes the pitcher from pitching to the inside part of the plate as in many instances the knees and elbows are actually in the strike zone. And unfortunately many umpires won't call a strike on a HBP that is in zone. I've done it on a few occasions and have caught hell from the player, coaches, and fans for it because they cannot see what I can see. And many umpires that I have worked with do not enforce the "starting position" rule.
  25. Batter catches the pitch

    Play 65-83 NCAA and OBR only. A slow curve hits B1’s arm in front of the plate. B1 makes no attempt to avoid the pitch. Ruling: The ball is dead. If in the umpire’s judgment the pitch would have been a strike, it is called as such. In any case, B1 is not awarded first. The underlined piece is the interpretation verbiage I'm speaking of. It is speaking of a "slow curve" and say "would have been a strike". It doesn't say "if in the umpire's judgement the pitch WAS a strike". So to me this clearly indicated that when a batter interferes with a pitch intentionally before it gets to the plate then the umpire must determine whether it WOULD have been a strike or not. And as far as I'm concerned I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to the pitcher not the batter that purposely interfered. Now if he caught a pitch that was clearly a ball then it's a ball. But if I believe it was breaking into the zone and the batter kept that from happening, then I believe calling that pitch a strike is supported by this interpretation.